The most recommended books about Aboriginal Australians

Who picked these books? Meet our 18 experts.

18 authors created a book list connected to Aboriginal Australians, and here are their favorite Aboriginal Australians books.
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What type of Aboriginal Australians book?


Till We Meet Again

By Julie Muller,

Book cover of Till We Meet Again

Linda Matesa Author Of The Golden Bowl: A book to help children cope with grief

From the list on for grieving children to aid in recovery after loss.

Who am I?

I was not intentionally set out to write books for children, but I was inspired to do so after struggling to face the challenges brought on by my illness—multiple brain tumors and surgeries. Creating messages through stories for children facing such hardship as a life-threatening illness, at times even brought me the reason I needed to keep fighting for my health and for my life.

Linda's book list on for grieving children to aid in recovery after loss

Why did Linda love this book?

I was very pleased to read that book. It comforts us to know that the people we lost are living through us, through our actions I share the author's view that the world we live in is not our home. Like the author, I think we're just passing through this world, which means we will all see each other again when the time comes.

By Julie Muller,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Till We Meet Again as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Till We Meet Again is a story about death & grieving for children. This book provides comfort to families when they experience the loss of a loved one. The book is meant to help a grieving child remember and share their special memories with those around them, to help them grow to see how they can honor and cherish their loved ones through their own actions.
Much love and hope has been poured into this book to help young children deal with loss and provide hope that someday we will all meet again.


By Katharine Susannah Prichard,

Book cover of Coonardoo

Angela Woollacott Author Of Gender and Empire

From the list on how gender helped empires to rule the world.

Who am I?

I’ve been teaching university courses on gender and colonialism for about thirty years. I find students engage with the stories of the daily lived reality of women and men in the past. The books on my list are ones I have assigned at universities in two different countries. It’s so powerful to read someone’s own story from centuries ago, in their own words, like that of Mary Prince. While I love to recommend fiction to history students, I’ve always been fussy about only assigning novels set in a time period and context that the author knew first-hand. It makes these stories—like Heart of Darkness, Burmese Days, and Coonardoo—truly historical evidence. 

Angela's book list on how gender helped empires to rule the world

Why did Angela love this book?

Katharine Susannah Prichard was one of Australia’s prominent 20th-century novelists, controversial because of her Communism. But her 1929 novel Coonardoo was considered outrageous, not because of its class politics, so much as its daring to tell a story of interracial love. Set on a remote cattle station in northern Western Australia, Coonardoo presents the veiled love story of the white station owner and an exploited Aboriginal servant. To me, the love story is plausibly told through a focus on their childhood bonding and shared affinity for the land. The historical value of the book now—limited by its presentation of Indigenous culture through a settler lens—is in cataloguing the terrible treatment of Aboriginal station workers, especially the sexual abuse of Aboriginal women, and in the nearby pearling industry.

By Katharine Susannah Prichard,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Coonardoo as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Tells the story of Hugh Watt, heir to a cattle station in Australia who is trying to make it a successful ranch, and Coonardoo, his aborigine house slave.

Walking the Clouds

By Grace Dillon (editor),

Book cover of Walking the Clouds: An Anthology of Indigenous Science Fiction

E.G. Condé Author Of Sordidez

From the list on Indigenous futurism.

Who am I?

In grade school, I was taught that my ancestors in Borikén (Puerto Rico) were eradicated by the Spanish, just a few decades after Christopher Columbus “discovered” the Americas. I have since become an Anthropologist of technology, where I study how the infrastructure failures and disasters like hurricanes are reactivating a dormant Taíno identity on my ancestral archipelago. My speculative fiction is inspired by this research and my fractured family history as a descendant of the Taíno, enslaved Africans, and their colonizers from Spain. In my stories, I challenge the narrative of my own extinction, imagining alternative pasts and futures where the Taíno are flourishing and Boricuas are free from American colonial rule (Taínofuturism).

E.G.'s book list on Indigenous futurism

Why did E.G. love this book?

The future is Indigenous. Time is not linear. The scientific and the spiritual are not mutually exclusive. The apocalypse can be survived.

These are some of the many provocations explored in the stories, essays, and excerpts that make up Grace Dillon’s (Anishinaabe) groundbreaking anthology, Walking the Clouds. The voices that appear in this collection lay the foundations for indigenous futurism and challenge the ongoing colonial politics of science fiction (SF) as a genre. SF tropes like alien encounters, apocalypses, and interstellar voyages are realigned with the assimilationist and genocidal histories of colonialism that inspired them.

Walking the Clouds is a powerful intervention and a must-read for anyone seeking an introduction to indigenous futurisms and decolonial fiction. 

By Grace Dillon (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Walking the Clouds as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this first-ever anthology of Indigenous science fiction Grace Dillon collects some of the finest examples of the craft with contributions by Native American, First Nations, Aboriginal Australian, and New Zealand Maori authors. The collection includes seminal authors such as Gerald Vizenor, historically important contributions often categorized as "magical realism" by authors like Leslie Marmon Silko and Sherman Alexie, and authors more recognizable to science fiction fans like William Sanders and Stephen Graham Jones. Dillon's engaging introduction situates the pieces in the larger context of science fiction and its conventions.

Organized by sub-genre, the book starts with Native slipstream, stories…

The Secret River

By Kate Grenville,

Book cover of The Secret River

Rebecca Hazell Author Of The Grip of God: Book One of The Tiger And The Dove

From the list on by women that sweep you to another time and place.

Who am I?

I’ve loved fairytales, myths, and history since childhood. After graduating with honors in Russian and Chinese history, I’ve been researching and writing for decades. My work ranges from educational materials to award-winning nonfiction books for children on the theme of heroism. I’ve traveled the world, partly for research, but mostly out of a passion for discovery. My last nonfiction work was a book about women writers. I also penned a historical trilogy that started out as one book, plotted out when I was eighteen. It grew. And, returning full circle to my first loves, my most recent book for children is a traditional Buddhist tale from ancient India.

Rebecca's book list on by women that sweep you to another time and place

Why did Rebecca love this book?

This book was my introduction to Australian literature. I loved its eloquent evocation of a world totally new and mysterious to its characters. Although I was vaguely familiar with Australia’s penal colony past and with the destruction wrought on Aboriginal lives and culture, this book brought it home. I deeply appreciated the way it took me into the minds of men and women, most of them well-meaning but ignorant, and showed me how they missed the point of where they were and how to thrive there. The tragedy of that ignorance resonates with me, since I see it all around the world. 

By Kate Grenville,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Secret River as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


London, 1806. William Thornhill, happily wedded to his childhood sweetheart Sal, is a waterman on the River Thames. Life is tough but bearable until William makes a mistake, a bad mistake for which he and his family are made to pay dearly.

His sentence: to be transported to New South Wales for the term of his natural life. Soon Thornhill, a man no better or worse than most, has to make the most difficult decision of his life.

Walking is a Way of Knowing

By Madhuri Ramesh, Manish Chandi, Matthew Frame (illustrator)

Book cover of Walking is a Way of Knowing: In a Kadar Forest

Seema Mundoli Author Of Cities and Canopies: Trees in Indian Cities

From the list on the environment by women writers from India.

Who am I?

I have had an affinity for nature since my childhood, but I did not train as an ecologist. An increasing concern about the environment, and the people more adversely affected by ecological degradation, made me switch careers early. I have worked on issues around conservation, land and forest rights of indigenous communities, and on the importance of nature in cities. Today I am an educator with a responsibility to communicate not only about environmental issues, but why it is a priority for communities in India. I am proud to be a part of the community of women writers on the environment in India whose voices and experiences need to be heard.

Seema's book list on the environment by women writers from India

Why did Seema love this book?

This is a small book. But in its own way, it is rich and detailed when it comes to how profoundly it draws out the relationship between the forest and the Kadars, an indigenous community residing in South India. The authors visiting the forest are researchers from the city, but here in the forest their teachers are the Kadars whose very name means “people of the forest.” With a touch of humour the book, wonderfully illustrated, is an ode to the traditional ecological knowledge, powers of observation, and story-telling skills of the Kadars. The simple activity of walking on a forest path with the Kadars is a revelation of the wealth of knowledge they possess and their relationship with the plants, animals, and even spirits. This is knowledge no ecological textbook can provide, but this knowledge is immeasurable in its value.

By Madhuri Ramesh, Manish Chandi, Matthew Frame (illustrator)

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Walking is a Way of Knowing as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This is the story of a Kadar elder who takes a young urban visitor through the tangled woods that make up his ancient home. The book captures an urban nature lover's experience of learning from a forestdweller - and is beautifully illustrated to bring alive the dark richness of an lndian tropical forest.

The Timeless Land

By Eleanor Dark,

Book cover of The Timeless Land

Patsy Trench Author Of The Worst Country in the World

From the list on the beginnings of colonial Australia.

Who am I?

I’m a Pom, as Aussies would say, born and bred in England to an Australian mother and British father. I emigrated to Australia as a ten-pound Pom way back when and though I eventually came home again I’ve always retained an affection and a curiosity about the country, which in time led me to write three books about my own family history there. The early days of colonial Australia, when around 1400 people, half of whom were convicts, ventured across the world to found a penal colony in a country they knew almost nothing about, is one of the most fascinating and frankly unlikely stories you could ever hope to come across. 

Patsy's book list on the beginnings of colonial Australia

Why did Patsy love this book?

A bold and broad-sweeping book, written in the 1940s, described as a novel but featuring a mix of real and fictional characters, The Timeless Land is a beautifully imaginative telling of the arrival of the First Fleet in what became Sydney in 1788, as seen through the eyes of the Aboriginal people, the Governor and his officers, convicts and the odd settler. The depiction of the part-real, part-invented Aboriginal people may cause raised eyebrows nowadays, but the book is based on thorough research and written with great imagination and sensitivity. I love the mix of the real and the imaginary, while never distorting the facts. It’s a brilliant way to paint a vivid portrait of a subject, I’ve done it myself (if I may be presumptuous enough to bracket myself with Ms. Dark).

By Eleanor Dark,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Timeless Land as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An outstanding literary achievement, meticulously researched and deeply felt, this portrait of the earliest days of the European settlement of Australia remains unrivalled. the year 1788: the very beginning of European settlement. these were times of hardship, cruelty and danger. Above all, they were times of conflict between the Aborigines and the white settlers. Eleanor Dark brings alive those bitter years with moments of tenderness and conciliation amid the brutality and hostility. the cast of characters includes figures historical and fictional, black and white, convict and settler. All the while, beneath the veneer of British civilisation, lies the baffling presence…

The Territory

By Ernestine Hill,

Book cover of The Territory

Alison Booth Author Of The Philosopher's Daughters

From the list on historical women at the Australian frontier.

Who am I?

What makes me passionate about this topic is the racism I’ve witnessed, the books I’ve read, and my deep love of landscape. Australia is a nation built on immigration but it’s also a land with an ancient Indigenous culture, and this is reflected in the books on my list. Born in Melbourne, I grew up in Sydney, and then lived for some years in the UK. I hold a PhD from the London School of Economics and I’m a professor at the Australian National University. I do hope you enjoy the books on my list as much as I have.

Alison's book list on historical women at the Australian frontier

Why did Alison love this book?

Although The Territory was published in the 1940s, the book is as vivid as if it came out last year. Neither a novel nor a history, it is an evocative account of Ernestine Hill’s extensive travels around Northern Australia, the Aboriginal and white people she met, the stories she came across, and the joys and hardships she faced. I view it as essential reading for anyone planning to visit the Top End of Australia. I first read it while I was mapping out the plot of my own book, and was blown away by Ernestine Hill’s evocation of The Territory

By Ernestine Hill,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Territory as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Timeless because it is history, timelessly popular because it is so full of life, colour and adventure. This is the story of the first 100 years of white exploration, pioneering and settlement in Australian tropic north.

Follow the Rabbit-Proof Fence

By Doris Pilkington, Nugi Garimara,

Book cover of Follow the Rabbit-Proof Fence

S.D. Livingston Author Of A Queen's Revenge

From the list on feeling the power of hope against impossible odds.

Who am I?

I’m an accidental historian, one that stumbled over a love of history in spite of myself. In school, history was all just dates and places—not the kind of thing to inspire a kid that loved stories about people, not dusty old battles. But then a funny thing happened on the way to an English degree. A few history electives suddenly seemed way more appealing than another round of Austen, and led me to a BA History with Distinction. The first half of the twentieth century is a favorite period, but I say bring on the Renaissance and Viking ships too!

S.D.'s book list on feeling the power of hope against impossible odds

Why did S.D. love this book?

The story sounds like legend: three young girls flee their captors and survive a thousand-mile trek across the Australian desert. Sadly, Follow the Rabbit-Proof Fence is all too true. It traces the real-life journey of Molly, Gracie, and Daisy, three Aboriginal Australian children forcibly removed from their families in 1930, part of a racist government strategy to wipe out Aboriginal culture. It’s an amazing tale of survival, but what really inspires me is Molly’s story after that fateful journey: her refusal to give in to a system bent on crushing her. Remarkably, almost a hundred years later, her fight for human rights still echoes in the headlines of today.

By Doris Pilkington, Nugi Garimara,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Follow the Rabbit-Proof Fence as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"The most consistent of all series in terms of language control, length, and quality of story."

David R. Hill, Director of the Edinburgh Project on Extensive Reading.

Ghost Bird

By Lisa Fuller,

Book cover of Ghost Bird

D.P. Vaughan Author Of Ethereal Malignance

From the list on complex identities.

Who am I?

From a young age, I've been engrossed by the complexities of identity, a theme I explore as an Australian speculative fiction writer. My own identity comes with its quirks—I hold a Bachelor of Music in Composition, spent a decade in admin roles, and the better part of another decade teaching English to adult migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers. This eclectic background enriches my narratives, which blend supernatural elements with grounded realism and diverse representation. Whether it's exploring loneliness or delving into the lives of victims of bullying, my unique lens makes me well-suited to recommend books that tackle intricate themes of identity.

D.P.'s book list on complex identities

Why did D.P. love this book?

Ghost Bird by Aboriginal Australian author Lisa Fuller is a YA horror/mystery with a compelling narrative that delves into the internal conflict of identity on multiple fronts—scientific rationality versus traditional beliefs, being an Aboriginal person in a colonised land, and the weight of being the 'responsible' sibling to your more reckless twin.

The book's atmosphere is eerie, and I found the mystery compelling. It had me guessing as to what was really going on (a kidnapping or something supernatural?) until right before the climax. The descriptions of the unfairness and difficulties of attending high school resonated strongly with me (even though I have never been an Aboriginal woman, the school experiences were so realistic that they spoke to me and my memory of school).

By Lisa Fuller,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Ghost Bird as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A thrilling, multi award-winning, teen ghost story, from a First Nations Australian author, drawing on the culture and beliefs of her close-knit community.
Stacey and Laney are twins and mirror images of each other but as different as the sun and the moon. Stacey wants to go places, do things and be someone different while Laney just wants to skip school and sneak out of the house to meet her boyfriend Troy. When Laney doesn't come home one night, the town assumes she's just doing her normal run-off but Stacey's gut tells her different.
Stacey knows her twin isn't dead…

The Boy from the Mish

By Gary Lonesborough,

Book cover of The Boy from the Mish

Tobias Madden Author Of Anything But Fine

From the list on growing up gay in Australia.

Who am I?

As someone who grew up in Australia without any gay literary characters to relate to, I’m incredibly passionate about queer stories set in our beautiful country. We now have a wealth of brilliant books by LGBTQ+ authors, and I hope that by sharing my recommendations, our stories find even more of the readers they’re meant to find. I’ve focused on books featuring gay male protagonists, as that’s how I identify, and they’re the type of queer stories I relate to the most. Some of the books are fiction, others are memoir, some are written for teens and others are for adults, but all of them share an incredible level of authenticity.

Tobias' book list on growing up gay in Australia

Why did Tobias love this book?

This is a heartwarming contemporary story about a gay Aboriginal teen exploring his sexuality and falling in love for the first time, set against the vivid backdrop of a fictional, rural Indigenous community. It’s evocative and heady and compelling. It’s one of those stories that makes you want to reach into the book and hug all the characters and tell them everything is going to be okay. Such an important story from a brilliant new voice in Australian YA.

By Gary Lonesborough,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Boy from the Mish as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

SHORTLISTED: 2022 CBCA Book of the Year, Older Readers

'I don't paint so much anymore,' I say, looking to my feet.

'Oh. Well, I got a boy who needs to do some art. You can help him out,' Aunty Pam says, like I have no say in the matter, like she didn't hear what I just said about not painting so much anymore. 'Jackson, this is Tomas. He's living with me for a little while.'

It's a hot summer, and life's going all right for Jackson and his family on the Mish. It's almost Christmas, school's out, and he's hanging…

Book cover of Aboriginal People and Australian Football in the Nineteenth Century: They Did Not Come from Nowhere

Wray Vamplew Author Of Games People Played: A Global History of Sports

From the list on history books to find out why sport matters.

Who am I?

I love sport. I played my last game of cricket when I was 69 and, as I approach my eightieth year, I continue to play golf, confusing my partners by switching from right to left hand when chipping and putting. I like watching sport but prefer to spectate via television rather than being there. I confess I do not fully understand American sports: I cannot fathom why a hit over the fence in baseball can score 1, 2, 3, or 4 rather than the undisputed 6 of cricket; and, while I admire the strategies of American football, I wonder why a ‘touchdown’ does not actually involve touching down.

Wray's book list on history books to find out why sport matters

Why did Wray love this book?

Indigenous populations too have had a raw deal: from settlers who took their land and from those who felt they knew what was best for them. Although among the lesser sinners, sports historians have disregarded their traditional sports and focussed on their participation in sports imposed on them by invading powers. In contrast, Australian Aborigines feature in Roy Hay’s book as sportspersons in their own right. Hay shows that they were human beings who performed a constructive role in Australia’s sporting history. He does this not as a woke, bleeding heart academic but as a historian determined to unearth the ‘true’ story of Aboriginal participation in Australian Rules Football. As an Australian citizen I wanted to read this story.

By Roy Hay,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Aboriginal People and Australian Football in the Nineteenth Century as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This book will revolutionise the history of Indigenous involvement in Australian football in the second half of the nineteenth century. It collects new evidence to show how Aboriginal people saw the cricket and football played by those who had taken their land and resources and forced their way into them in the missions and stations around the peripheries of Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia. They learned the game and brought their own skills to it, eventually winning local leagues and earning the respect of their contemporaries. They were prevented from reaching higher levels by the gatekeepers of the domestic…

Tough Boris

By Mem Fox, Kathryn Brown (illustrator),

Book cover of Tough Boris

E.B. Bartels Author Of Good Grief: On Loving Pets, Here and Hereafter

From the list on teaching kids about pet death.

Who am I?

I’m someone who has had a lot of pets in my life––dogs, fish, birds, turtles, tortoises––which means I’m also someone who has had a lot of pets in my life die, because the worst thing about pets is they don’t live as long as we do. I spent ten years writing Good Grief, but really, I’ve been researching Good Grief my whole life, ever since my first pet died. This list includes some classics I loved when I was a kid, and some newer titles that I learned about while researching Good Grief. All are wonderful and will be a balm during a hard time.  

E.B.'s book list on teaching kids about pet death

Why did E.B. love this book?

This is another great picture book about the death of a non-dog/cat pet––in this Mem Fox classic, the pirate Tough Boris loses his dear pet parrot.

This book is especially wonderful though because it shows how even the toughest of tough guys––and Tough Boris is a tough pirate––can absolutely fall to pieces when a pet dies. It’s okay to cry about an animal dying––even if you are a pirate!

The really beautiful thing about this story though is seeing how Tough Boris copes with the loss through making friends with a stowaway boy on his ship, because if I’ve learned one thing from my pets dying, it’s that you need the support and love of other people to help you through the loss.

By Mem Fox, Kathryn Brown (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Tough Boris as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Boris von der Broch is a mean, greedy old pirate - tough as nails, through and through, like all pirates. Or is he? For when Boris'' parrot dies, the tough pirate is reduced to tears'

Aboriginal Convicts

By Kristyn Harman,

Book cover of Aboriginal Convicts: Australian, Khoisan and Maori Exiles

Nick Brodie Author Of 1787: The Lost Chapters of Australia's Beginnings

From the list on changing how you see history.

Who am I?

I’m a professional history nerd who is perennially interested in both sides of the history coin: What happened? How do we know? I’ve got a PhD in sixteenth-century European history, have written articles that cover things from antiquity to Vikings in America, and have written several history books about Australia and its region. I like history that is robust, so I’m always looking for books that make clever use of sources. And I love stories that disrupt preconceptions, so I enjoy researching and writing and reading histories that make you think.

Nick's book list on changing how you see history

Why did Nick love this book?

If the British empire’s first historians had a knack for anything it was omitting to mention what some of what their predecessors did for the sake of empire. Aboriginal Convicts is one of those books that really challenges us to rethink the stories we have received about British colonization. By tracing the lives of Indigenous people in South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand who were sentenced to transportation as convicts this groundbreaking book turns the table on the way we see Britain’s empire in the nineteenth century.

By Kristyn Harman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Aboriginal Convicts as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When most of us imagine an Australian convict we see an Englishman or an Irish lass transported for stealing a loaf of bread or a scrap of cloth. Contrary to this popular image, however, Australian penal settlements were actually far more ethnically diverse, comprising individuals transported from British colonies throughout the world.

As Kristyn Harman shows in Aboriginal Convicts, there were also a surprising number of indigenous convicts transported from different British settlements, including ninety Aboriginal convicts from all over Australia, thirty-four Khoisan from the Cape Colony (South Africa) and six Maori from New Zealand.

These men and women were…

Australian Aboriginal art

By Ronald Berndt,

Book cover of Australian Aboriginal art

Susan Dorothea White Author Of Draw Like Da Vinci

From the list on the drawing techniques of great masters and great mistresses.

Who am I?

A practising artist for more than 60 years, my main source of inspiration is people and the natural world. I work in a variety of media including painting, sculpture, and printmaking. Drawing is the foundation of my art and I always keep a sketchbook handy. As a left-hander in a right-handed world, drawing became my main means of expression from an early age, when I instinctively wrote back-to-front with my left hand but was made to use my right. In addition to my art practice, I have taught drawing and developed a teaching method based on 7 principles that are outlined in Draw Like da Vinci.  

Susan's book list on the drawing techniques of great masters and great mistresses

Why did Susan love this book?

I have a deep admiration for the art of indigenous Australians with their connection to nature and mother earth. I grew up in outback Australia near a pre-historic sacred site with an awe-inspiring cave drawing of a giant serpent. This book, written by several scholars, is a comprehensive resource on Aboriginal art. The illustrations cover traditional bark paintings and cave drawings, some dating back more than 30,000 years. The authors’ analysis of symbols is informative. I consider Aboriginal artists to be the first anatomists. Long before Leonardo, they were drawing the inner structures and organs of humans and animals. 

By Ronald Berndt,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Australian Aboriginal art as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

Gossip from the Forest

By Sara Maitland,

Book cover of Gossip from the Forest: The Tangled Roots of Our Forests and Fairytales

Ashland Pym Author Of The Serpent and the Swan: A Grimm-Dark Fairy Tale

From the list on capturing the power of myth.

Who am I?

I’m a fantasy author and mythologist who studies myth’s place in culture, history, and heritage conservation. To finish my doctorate, I moved from Seattle to Galway, Ireland and never left. Myth and folklore permeate the landscape around me as well as my day-to-day life. After grad school I returned to my first love, fiction, with all the knowledge and passion that came from the better part of a decade spent studying mythology. When I’m not writing, I spend my time exploring 5000-year-old tombs or practicing Fiore (14th century Italian sword fighting) with my husband. The Serpent and the Swan is the debut fairy tale in a much larger series.

Ashland's book list on capturing the power of myth

Why did Ashland love this book?

Folklore and nature conservation is a subjects close to my heart. When I met my husband, an ecologist, many of our first conversations were on the importance of narrative to get people interested in conservation efforts. Folklore is the perfect tool.

This book does that job beautifully. As a piece of narrative nonfiction, it collects fairy tales, personal memoirs, and natural history in a lyrical journey through the forests of England. Maitland centers each chapter on an English woodland and the stories associated with it, be they fairy tales or history. More importantly, she discusses not only how myth shapes culture, but how landscape shapes myth. I reference it time and again not only as an academic, but as an author who creates worlds rich in landscape and folklore.

By Sara Maitland,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Gossip from the Forest as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Fairytales are one of our earliest and most vital cultural forms, and forests one of our most ancient landscapes. Both evoke a similar sensation in us - we find them beautiful and magical, but also spooky, sometimes horrifying.

In this fascinating book, Maitland argues that the two forms are intimately connected: the mysterious secrets and silences, gifts and perils of the forests were both the background and the source of the fairytales made famous by the Grimms and Hans Christian Andersen. Yet both forests and fairy stories are at risk and their loss deprives us of our cultural lifeblood. Maitland…

Remembering Babylon

By David Malouf,

Book cover of Remembering Babylon

Katherine Johnson Author Of Paris Savages

From the list on "new" histories.

Who am I?

I studied Human Zoos, the subject of Paris Savages, for my PhD. Tens of thousands of performers were transported to Europe and America for exhibition, reaching a peak in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. However, the stories of this time are largely Eurocentric. I sought to shine a light evocatively into this largely forgotten part of history, and to see it through fresh eyes. Paris Savages is an epic and very human tale that saw me reflect on teenage memories of exploring Fraser island. I also travelled to Europe to follow in the footsteps of the three Aboriginal performers the story is based on: Bonny, Jurano, and Dorondera.

Katherine's book list on "new" histories

Why did Katherine love this book?

The book provided instructive reading when I was researching my book. In particular, I was interested in Malouf’s way of approaching the story of colonisation in Australia through an ‘in-between’ character, Gemmy, modelled on a real-life ship’s boy cast ashore in northern Australia in the early nineteenth century. The boy is raised by Aboriginal people. He loses his mother tongue and, when confronted with white settlers, is treated as a ‘savage,' a theme the book explores through a range of points of view. Who are the true savages in the story was a question I was interested to pose in my own book

By David Malouf,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Remembering Babylon as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Originally published in 1996, this is a comprehensive and authoritative sourcebook packed with all the practical information parents need at every stage of their child's life, from before birth to age five years. Over 350 colour photographs and illustrations.